1481 (t.a.q.). All his works were written during Bayezid’s reign, i.e. after 1481.
Written in the mixture of prose, verse and rhymed prose which was to be perfected in the late sixteenth century, the Maârif-nâme ("Book of Knowledge")-written for “the commoners” who read Turkish (T418: Türkî diye bu kitâbı avâm olur)- is a voluminous compendium of moral advice, one of the first in a long series of Ottoman ethical works. After a long encomium of God and of the Prophet (partly in terms of Islamic astronomy and cosmology: T14-29), Sinan Paşa embarks on the usual complain of the present world (T70ff; cf. also his complains of the “sons of [his] time”, ebnâ-yı zamân: T294-97 and other similar chapters, e.g. T530ff, 536ff). Then he begins a full-fledged set of advice, including avoiding “vain sciences” (T134ff: ulûmi’l-gayri’n-nâfıa, a chapter actually stressing the importance of sharia and simple pure faith as opposed to excessive philosophical explanation; cf. also T322ff), looking with contempt upon wealth (T166ff; cf. also T544ff, 588ff and elsewhere), preferring isolation (T176ff; cf. also T296ff), using the reason to control one’s wishes (T182ff), controlling one’s anger (T188ff, T654ff), giving alms and being generous (T244ff, T652ff), showing respect for the teachers (üstâd: T366ff), being content with little (T430ff), showing generosity (T462ff), being neither greedy, if one is rich, nor importunate, if one is a beggar (T504ff), avoiding satire and jokes (T510ff), as well as excessive talking (T569ff), and so forth. Amid these chapters, one should note a benevolent short discussion of Sufi orders (T220ff) and a detailed discussion of the “ecstatic languages” (lisân-ı hâl, as opposed to the “informative” one, lisân-ı haber), meaning the various ways creatures entities such as the wind, the rose, the nightingale or the hoopoe (or even the dog, “the most canonically unclean creature”: T284ff) speak symbolically of God’s creation (T252ff, E98ff). If there is a general idea throughout Sinan Paşa’s work, this is clearly the transitory and deceptive nature of this world; a leitmotiv obviously linked to both his Sufi affiliation and his bitter experience under Mehmed II’s whims. On the other hand, complaints about the present world include more concrete remarks, such as the ulema who are divided into those who care for the Holy Law and those who betray it (T470ff, E180ff); more specifically, the ranks of the judges are now filled with ignorant and corrupt people (T478ff, E183ff), and the same happens with doctors and astrologers (T480ff, E184ff). Nor do fake sheikhs escape condemnation (T662ff).
An interesting chapter talks of those trying to secure the world order (T368ff, E142ff). The order and arrangement of the world (cihânın nizâmı... ve âlem intizâmı) is to be found when people respect and protect each other (nâsın aralarında olan hukûk riâyet ola tâ ki dâimâ birinden birine himâyet ola). Human beings are made to help and to depend on each other (efrâd-ı insân ba’zı ba’zına mevsûl olur); thus, everyone should try to benefit from the world order, serving either in its esoteric or its worldly side (nizâm-ı âlemde onun dahi bir menfaati ola; gerekse bâtında, gerekse zâhirde bir hizmeti ola). Surely, one cannot equate the Sultan with his servants, but everybody can be useful provided that one’s intentions are pure; even those choosing isolation save the world with their prayers (the chapter somehow finds its climax with a reference to the Sufi poles of the world, which form the subject of the next chapter as well). On the contrary, poets are the object of severe criticism (“they may have more talent, but it is of no use, like a hand with an extra finger”: T378-79), with the exception of Sufi ones. Elsewhere, Sinan Paşa criticizes those who esteem lineage (neseb) higher than personal merit (haseb), noting that even the Prophet Noah’s children were rebels (T492ff, E189ff). In another chapter, whose subject would be a recurrent one in the similar treatises of the next centuries, he describes careers in the Sultan’s service as full of anguish and trouble (T496ff, E190ff), as viziers are almost doomed to practice oppression; the same happens with governors, who will have much difficulty in avoiding tyranny and arrogance and observing the subjects’ rights as they wish theirs to be observed (T504: kendi hakkına mutî’ gerek ki kendi dahi mutâ’ ola).
The last chapters of Sinan Paşa’s work are devoted to advice for Sultans and their ministers. The Sultan is urged to practice justice, as oppression is sure to provoke the destruction of his realm and of himself (TT664, E250ff), while there is no stronger army for a king than justice. A just Sultan respects the Holy Law and the ulema, protects the wealth of his subjects, ensures that cities and provinces are safe from thieves and robbers, is soft and pitiful when necessary and severe when he has to be, abstains from excessive sexual pleasure (kesret-i cimâ’, T670) and the company of women, as well as from games and carouse (T672); he may have an occasional laugh, but moderately. More specifically, the Sultan should stay within the limits of religion, even risking a loss of wealth (T676: hükm-i şer’den çıkmaya eğerçi bir mâl-ı azîme sebeb olursa), just as he should not conquer castles by breaking a treaty, or breaking his word in any other way; he must not confer his power to officers, as if they are unjust his own justice is of no avail (T678), while he must choose them with care and ask them continually about the state of his realm. His governors should be competent and experienced, and he should see that the notables of his realm are trustworthy (T680: zuamâsı sikât u ümenâ olalar); but as soon as he appoints such a governor, then he should not interfere or dismiss him in the first instance, as a governor must have the time to learn the state of his province and acquire experience: each place has its customary laws, and they should be respected (T684: her memlekette bir ‘örf olur ki onun nizâmı onunla olur... ve her vilâyette bir kânûn olur ki mesâlihi onunla düzülür). On the other hand, a just ruler will abolish some of the “established innovations” (i.e. bad laws: bida’-ı mu’tebere), found upon his accession to the throne of his realm.
A special chapter is devoted to the praise of Sultans’ generosity (seha: T686ff, E257ff). This is of two kinds: the lowest kind consists of not being greedy upon the subjects’ wealth, and the highest of being generous in one’s bestowals -provided, of course, that the royal wealth has not been acquired with oppression. The king must treat the subjects with justice, neither punishing the innocent nor forgiving the guilty; his personal behaviour reflects on the state of the realm. That is why the ancient kings of Greece or of Persia, whenever a powerful enemy or internal disorder seemed to prevail, first mended their own ways and abandoned entertainment (T692). A Sultan, thus, must respect ulema and dervishes, be generous and humble; he must have four virtues, namely to be generous, to be just, to stay faithful to his word, and to be firm in his decisions and awe-inspiring for his viziers. Next, in a chapter praising God’s rulership (T698ff, E262ff), Sinan Paşa names the Sultan “God’s caliph”, only to stress that this means he has to follow God’s orders and administer justice; justice and nice morals of a Sultan will make his realm prosper and his life be prolonged. Moreover, a king should abstain as far as possible from ordering executions, as taking one’s soul is in general God’s prerogative (T706ff, E265ff); if he has to execute someone, he must be patient and avoid doing it under the influence of his wrath. He must think of the affairs of his kingdom: if he devotes one or two hours to carouse, he should think several hours of these affairs (T712). Sultans must abolish bribery and use spies in different guises in order to know every detail in their realm; they must take special care when choosing an ambassador to the enemy’s country. Furthermore, a chapter on the manners (âdâb) of the Sultans (T720ff, E269ff) stresses that they should obey God’s orders so that everybody will obey theirs; more particularly, Sinan Paşa claims that merchants trading in the realm must not be vexed, because it is with their trade that both the wealth increases and the Sultan’s name becomes known everywhere.
Similarly, a Sultan must care for his army (T724ff, E271ff): poor soldiers should be helped and valiant ones rewarded. If a good soldier gets wounded, his name must not be erased from the registers; if he gets killed, his family and children must be cared for. However, in order to avoid any rebellion against the Sultan, the army should be kept from being unanimous, and one corps must be turned against another (T728: bir bölüğünün şenâati bir bölük ile def’ oluna). Every group has its bad habits, and the bad habits of the army consist in their tendency for disobedience. Here, Sinan Paşa enumerates the habits that lead each group to disaster: for the soldiers, disobedience; for the officers, immorality; for the governors, powerless administration; for the ulema, the will to dominate; for the judges, greediness; for justice, favour toward the mighty (meyl-i vülât); and for the kings, failure to protect (za’f-ı humât). This leads Sinan Paşa to deal with viziers (T730ff, E274ff): they should be intelligent and sincere; they should avoid partying with either the Sultans or even the governors (bey), as this is a job for boon companions (nedim). A vizier should think continually of the affairs of the realm, and try to know as much as possible for every corner of the kingdom. Moreover, the vizier must take care that no sinful revenue reaches the treasury, and prevent the Sultan from sinful acts; although he must fear him, he must also be sure of his friendship and of the safety of his household (T734). As for bad viziers (T738ff, E276ff), these are the hypocrites and two-faced, who flatter the Sultan and follow his whims, looking in fact to gain more for themselves; similarly harmful are slanderers (T742ff, E277ff) who drive Sultans to persecute their true assistants and friends (one may almost hear Sinan Paşa’s personal complain).
After these “political” sections, Sinan Paşa moves back to his moral and religious advice, with chapters on the importance of the heart (T744ff), the hidden souls (T746ff), the Oneness of God (T748ff), the “friends of God” (T754ff) and especially the concealed ones (T770ff), pointing to the Sufi doctrine of the “pole” (kutb).
 In a remark clearly addressed against Mehmed, he stresses the transitory nature of the world as follows: “every village that you considered yours, is now either a private property or a vakf” (T530: her köy ki benim diye gezersin, geh mülk ü geh vakıf olup durur).